Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Landwehr Collection, Part 3: Bohemia and Moravia

Well, here we are already on the penultimate chapter of this little photo-treatise of the irregular troops of 1809, which will deal with he troops from Bohemia and Moravia (including Silesia). The unit above is Landwehr from the city of Brunn, near where the great battle of Austerlitz was fought in 1805. Officially, these troops from the Northern provinces of the Austrian Empire were to wear grey coats with light blue facings, which these chaps pretty much adhere to. The shield bears the Arms of Brunn, of course!  I chose a light blue field because it matched the facing color - no factual basis beyond that.

 Frontal view of the same troops from Brunn. For reasons unclear to me, more Landwehr were raised from these provinces (55 battalions) than any other.

 Despite the "official" regulation noted, quite a few units from this area, especially Bohemian ones, wore brown coats instead. So it is with this unit of  Prague Landwehr. It is also noted that many units took the facing colors of their local Line Regiments. I saw a reference somewhere to green facings, so I chose them for this unit. The crest once again is that of the city of Prague, and the justification for the green field is the same as for the troops from Brunn.

 Anyway, I like the bright green facings on dark brown coats. And remember, I am their Kaiser, after all!

 Frontal pic of the Prague Landwehr; they don't look at all tired after scaling that slope, do they?

OK, I'll fess up; these guys are my favorite of the whole collection... the 1st battalion, Erzherzog Karl Legion. The reverse of the flag, bearing the White Lion of Bohemia (the unit was raised in and around Prague) on a red field with white ":flames" around the edge of the flag is based on the description in Hollins' book. Once again probably a bit over bold, but I just love it! This one is completely free-hand painted.

Update May 21 2011:  From a thread on TMP today, Mr. Hollins comments: "a pic of the flag has surfaced recently – the lion is actually within a red shield against a white background with red flames on that side. The 2nd battalion [EHK Legion]  [flag] had yellow over blue 5 stripes with a black Doppeladler and I think it was the 4th, which had the red flag with the city arms [as depicted] in MAA299."

  9 battalions of the EHK Legion, all volunteers, were raised in all, but the First was composed of skilled weapons handlers, often hunters and gamekeepers, and was usually referred to as the Waltrich Jagers, after the Major commanding the unit. Employed as Light infantry, they were heavily engaged at Teugen-Hausen and Eggmuhl, and fought at Wagram as well, by then being down to only about 300 men (out of about 600 to start).

One last shot; note the green plumes, regulation for the EHK (Archduke Charles) Legion, and the red trouser stripe, also mentioned in Hollins for some units, and the Corsehuts, also probable for the First battalion (shakos were regulation for the others).

Although technically this unit should be the 8th battalion, EHK Legion, the last 3 battalions, raised in Moravia, were re-designated as Moravian Freikorps, this being the 2nd battalion of same. It was also raised from volunteer marksmen around Olmutz and Prerau. They still wear the grey trousers assigned to the Legion, but alas, no stripes. Like all units of the EHK Legion, their officers were permitted to wear the black and yellow sashes that were the hallmark of Austrian officers below field grade; no other volunteer or Landwehr units were allowed this distinction.

Rear view shows the equipment to be well worn, but the soldiers appear ready. The reverse of the flag, by the way, shows the arms of Moravia, a red and yellow Eagle on a blue field. One of my gaming buddies refers to this flag, obviously painted free-hand, as the "Checkered Chicken", LOL!

And a final view of the 2nd battalion, Moravian Freikorps. The black leather equipment was regulation for the Legion. Once again an old Ordinarfahne was used for the obverse of the standard (free download from

So that's 12 units of 12 figures so far - 144 figures. They were made up from 5 different bags of 30 Landwehr figures each, all from Old Glory (28mm). Obtained with the 40% discount, the whole lot cost less than $100 (unpainted, of course) - can't beat that price! With coats in Grey, Green, and Brown, they certainly break up the occasional monotony of the "White Menace!"  So, add a few Landwehr units to your Napoleonic Austrian Army today!  :-)

Update May 21 2011:  From a thread on TMP today about another unit, the Lobkowitz Jagers:
"Raised in May (1809) from the Prague Garrison by the Bohemian magnate family, the Lokowitz Jager were kitted out as a volunteer formation under Major Germain. 430 men in four companies saw action at Wagram; their uniform details are unclear, but probably similar to the Legion."  From: Austrian Auxilluary Troops, 1792 -1816, Osprey, by Dave Hollins.

Mr Hollins added: "All that is definitely known is that the drum has survived in Prague Museum. However, there is a French account (from ? Hourtoulle), which is in the right sector and mentions a unit in hechtgrau trousers and brown jackets with orange facings."

The next and final chapter up will deal with the Hungarian Insurrectio. Thanks for reading!


  1. I have begun following your blog as the 1809 campaign is the very thing that got me interested in, and hooked on, wargaming. I collect the French for 1809 and have an eye towards collecting Austrians too since the rest of my wargaming group are confirmed Anglophiles. Your Landwehr units are great and I look forward to seeing more of your troops.

  2. Very nice, I like the flag for the city of Prague unit, good idea using cities coats of amrs for the flags.

  3. Okay, Peter, so now you have me interested. What percentage of the Austrians were these colorful landwehr units? I always imagined waves of white-uniformed troops marching over the hills with the occasional blue pants.

    Also, have you taken a look at Old Glory 2nd Generation or Sash&Saber Napoleonic figures?

  4. James: The French Napoleonic Army is my favorite, but the Austrians are a close second. By the time I finished all the Landwehr, it topped 800 figures and was briefly bigger than my French army, an unacceptable situation that was soon rectified!

    Ray: The use of coats of arms on the 1809 Landwehr flags is pretty well established, if not exactly which ones for which units, etc; also, the Arms of Prague I used are probably more modern than what may have been in effect in 1809, but we do the best we can!

    Dave: For sure white is the dominant color in the Austrian army, but there are those blue pants for the Hungarian units (about 20 - 25% of the Line regiments), dark brown coats for the Grenz (optional red cloaks folded atop their packs) and Artillery (with the yellow ochre gun carraiges), grey uniforms for the Jagers, green for the Chevau Legers (mostly) and Uhlans, and various bluesd and greens for the Hussars (with the colored shakos. Oh, and the generals wear scarlet pants. Woo-hoo! The Landwehr were a small percentage of the Army at the begining of the campaign in April 1809, but by Aspern-Essling and Wagram probably up to circa 15-20%

    I haven't really looked at the OG 2nd edition much. I have quite a few Sash and Saber German and Hungarian Line and Grenadiers, and Artillery crew - all very nice! The "German" infantry unit in helmet at the center of the Masthead is Sash and Saber. I'll eventually be posting pics of a number of S&S units.

  5. Sold !!

    Im doing some 1809 Austrians now as well. I do all my flags hand painted (15mm scale). Only way to go.

    Do you mind if I 'rip off' your flag designs for my Landwehr units as well ? They look brilliant, thanks for the great reference material.

  6. Steve,

    Sure, feel free to borrow the designs. Since painting those units in 2008-9 and posting this about 6 months ago, I suspect the most "standard format for the reverse of the Landwehr flags was probably a border of flames, color being almost anything, but most likely white plus another color(s) derived from the arms of the province. In the center would be the provincial (or town/city) arms, on a filed that could be white, red, etc, again probably derived from or contrasting with the provincial arms. Still, I like the bolder designs I used on some of he units here,and certainly in 15mm they will stand out a lot better than smaller designs on shields. Besides, my other big interest is the Great Italian Wars, and those designs are reminiscent of the flags of that era. After all, designs that are300 years behind the times seem only a bit out of date for an Austrian militia!

  7. Thanks mate, good comments there.

    Ive done a couple for the Vienna Woods volunteers at the moment - I found some brilliant references for coat of arms for different districts of Vienna, and used those on the reverse side of the flag for different units within the VW Landwehr regiment. Looks great.

    Im really liking the lion on the red background and the Moravian chequered eagle on the blue. Must do some of those next.

    If you are into flags in a big way, have a go hand painting some on canvas paper. You can buy little booklets of acrylic gesso primed canvas sheets for dollar or 2, and they make excellent flag sets. They have a natural bumpy texture that (in my opinion) adds great character to the minis. Folds well when wet, and dries rock hard.

    Nice work there, and thanks for blogging about it in detail.

  8. For many years I hand painted all my flags, including a great many of the yellow ordinarfahnen for the Austrians, and many Russian flags as well, which you'll see my Minifigs carrying in the various battle reports where these veterans appear. I've never tried painting onto canvas. The quality of printed flags, both the free stuff like Napflag, and the equisite GMB flags is such that now days I usually only hand paint flags that I can't find elsewhere - like the EHK Legion and that Moravian Landwehr flag. Still, I have to admit they are my favorites! You are correct that there is a certain richness of color that painted flags have that even the best of printed flags lack.

    Do you hail from Oz, Steve? If so, where? I have some good wargames friends there...